Nek Chand, a Padma Shree awardee, died after being admitted in a hospital following a chest complaint.
Nek Chand, the creator of the iconic Rock Garden in Chandigarh passed away late last night at PGIMER after a prolonged illness. He was 90. Nek Chand’s body would be kept at the Rock Garden today for the public to pay tributes.
Born in Shakargarh, now in Pakistan, Nek Chand’s family settled in Punjab after partition. He started working for the Punjab public works department as a roads inspector in 1951. It was the time when Le Corbusier was designing Chandigarh.
Nek Chand started work on the Rock Garden in the early 1960s. He cleared a forest patch near Sukhna Lake and sculpted some figures from the discarded material. As he continued toiling for years, his work gradually spread over several acres and comprised of hundreds of sculptures. The Administration threatened demolition when the work was discovered for having violated laws as no permission was sought before undertaking the task.
However, the city residents stood by him and the now world famous Rock Garden was formally inaugurated on January 24, 1976. Over the decades, it spread in over 25 acres in three phases with Nek Chand still taking a keen interest in its development. He could be seen regularly visiting officials of the Administration asking for more work to be undertaken at the Rock Garden. His 90th birthday was celebrated by the UT Administration in December last year. This iconic creation of Nek Chand is on the itinerary of every tourist, domestic or international and is visited by hundreds of people everyday. Nek Chand’s creations can be seen taking a pride of place at several places in the city.